From one of my favorites of his recent Bush-smackdowns, this oneabout FISA:
If Congress immunizes the telecoms for past violations of the law, it will send the message Congress approves what the administration did. We would be aiding and abetting the President in his illegal actions, his contempt for the rule of law, and his attempt to hide his lawbreaking from the American people. Voting for amnesty would be a vote for silence, secrecy, and illegality. There would be no accountability, no justice, no lessons learned.
The damage will not stop there. The telecommunications companies are not the only private entity enlisted by this administration in its lawbreaking. Think about Blackwater and its brutal actions in Iraq, or the airlines that have flown CIA captives to be tortured in foreign countries. These companies may also be summoned to court one day to justify their actions. When that day comes, the administration may call yet again for retroactive immunity, claiming the companies were only doing their patriotic duty as “partners” in fighting terrorism.
The debate we are having now about telecom amnesty is not likely to be the last round in the administration’s attempt to immunize its private partners. It is only the opening round. In America, we should be striving to make more entities subject to the rule of law, not fewer. Giving in to the administration now will start us down a path to a very dark place.
Think about what we have been hearing from the White House in this debate. The President has said American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity–no immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he is willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.